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Range Rover Sport SVR: Brisk, brute and tasteful thug

By Ghaith Madadha - Apr 09,2018 - Last updated at Apr 09,2018

Photos courtesy of Range Rover

First launched in 2015 and revised as part of a model-wide mid-life facelift, Land Rover’s fastest, most powerful and sportiest SUV just got more so for 2018. With 25BHP more power, subtle styling updates, tech enhancements and improved handling tweaks, the Range Rover Sport SVR is faster and more composed than one could expect of a 2.3-tonne SUV. A product of Jaguar Land Rover’s skunkworks SVO division, the SVR may be brutally quick and taut and tide around the track, but also boasts a spacious cabin and genuine off-road ability.

 

Unambiguous aggression

 

Unashamedly thuggish, wild and lairy in appearance, the Range Rover Sport SVR could, as it has been, described as being “tasteful”, insofar as that wild SVR body styling is well incorporated and complements the basic design. However, if “tasteful” were to mean conservative, discrete, unassuming or subtle, the SVR surely is not. 

Riding on vast optional black 22-inch alloy wheels shod with sticky low profile 295/40R22 tyres, the SVR site on the road with an upright and muscularly arrogant demeanour, emphasised by its high bumpers and waistline, slim headlights and rakishly descending roofline

Like the rest of the Range Rover Sport model range, the SVR receives a revised fascia treatment with new “pixel” LED lights and light signature, and updated grille and bumper design. Bigger front air intakes for improved brake cooling are immediately noticeable, as is the SVR’s new two-tone and light clam shell vented carbon-fibre bonnet, which is part painted and part lacquered naked carbon-fibre. Designed with clear unambiguous lines and surfacing, the SVR’s muscular stance is enhanced by its high-set rear lights and jutting tailgate spoiler, and restyled quad tailpipes.

 

Devestatingly effective

 

Thundering to life on ignition and with a deep staccato mid-range tone layered with heavy bass, the SVR’s now more powerful supercharged direct injection 5-litre V8 engine’s growl coalesces to a bellowing wail when driven at full throttle and high revs. Developing 567BHP at 6500rpm and capable of near-supercar 4.5-second 0-100km/h acceleration, the SVR also receives an additional 59lb/ft for a total torque output of 700Nm throughout a broad 3500-5000rpm rev band, to allow for effortlessly muscular on the move acceleration, including 80-120km/h in just 2.8-seconds, while top speed rises by 20km/h to 280km/h.

With mechanically driven supercharger providing near instant boost and without the lag associated with turbocharging, the SVR launches from standstill with vigorous response as all four wheels dig into the tarmac. Pulling brutally hard from low-end through a tidal wave of mid-range torque and building to a volcanic top-end as power gushes to its maximum, the SVR is consistently and devastatingly effective throughout. Driven at Jaguar Land Rover’s Fen End proving ground in the UK the SVR achieved speeds in excess of 200km/h with disdainful ease. Thirsty when driven hard, the SVR can, however, return 12.8l/100km combined cycle fuel efficiency.

 

Unlikely agility

 

A former RAF facility now featuring a proving track with high speed straights, banked curve and winding corners, Fen End proved an ideal place to put the SVR through its paces and sample the sort of chassis witchcraft that allows such a large and heavy SUV to handle with such taut control and poise. Riding of double wishbone front and integral link rear suspension to better compromise lateral rigidity for handling and vertical absorption for comfort, the SVR also features adaptive dampers. It is however its active anti-roll bars which prove most effective in containing.

With meaty, yet quick and accurate steering and suspension in its tautest mode, the SVR turns in nimbly and tidily. Belying its weight and high centre of gravity, the SVR seemingly shrinks around the driver as it powers through snaking corners with unlikely agility as its electric motor driven trick anti-roll bars tighten to ruthlessly contain body roll. Balanced and taut, the SVR is happy to be flung through corners. With its weight pivoting to the rear and outside, the SVR’s four-wheel-drive system meanwhile allocates power where needed to ensure tenacious traction and reassuring road-holding.  

 

Support and space

 

Able to automatically adjust its active anti-roll bars and adaptive dampers for improved comfort and wheel travel on straights — and off-road — the SVR is however somewhat on the firm side over rough UK country lanes, although, and even driving on the right side of the UK’s narrow roads, the SVR high seating position and straight flanks provided one with good forward and side visibility to place it accurately on the road. Meanwhile, its responsive steering and poised chassis allowed one to drive through such switchbacks with a certain rhythm and fluency.

Luxurious inside, the SVR has a distinct sporty ambiance that combines two tone leathers with metal and carbon-fibre trim in a logical way. Driving position is highly adjustable and spacious, with thin framed yet stiff sports seats providing support and comfort for front passengers, and freeing up more legroom in the SVR’s already spacious rear. Loaded with high tech infotainment, driver assistance and safety systems, the SVR also comes with low gear ratios, height adjustable air suspension and an electronic terrain response system that adjusts and calibrates various parameters for off-road driving.

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Engine: 5-litre, supercharged, in-line V8-cylinders
  • Bore x stroke: 92.5 x 93mm
  • Compression ratio: 9.5:1
  • Valve-train: 32-valve, DOHC, variable timing, direct injection
  • Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive
  • Ratios: 1st 4.714; 2nd 3.143; 3rd 2.106; 4th 1.667; 5th 1.285; 6th 1.0; 7th 0.839; 8th 0.667
  • Reverse / final drive ratios: 3.317 / 3.31
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 567 (575) [423] @6500rpm
  • Specific power: 113.4BHP/litre
  • Power-to-weight: 245.5BHP/tonne
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 516 (700) @3500-5000rpm
  • Specific torque: 140Nm/litre
  • Torque-to-weight: 303Nm/tonne
  • 0-100km/h: 4.5-seconds
  • 80-120km/h: 2.8-seconds
  • Top speed: 280km/h
  • Fuel economy, combined: 12.8-litres/100km
  • CO2 emissions, combined: 294g/km
  • Fuel capacity: 104-litres
  • Length: 4879mm
  • Width: 2073mm
  • Height: 1803mm
  • Wheelbase: 2923mm
  • Track, F/R: 1692/1686mm
  • Overhang, F/R: 879/1077mm
  • Aerodynamic drag co-efficiency: 0.35
  • Headroom, F/R: 984/991mm (w/sunroof)
  • Legroom, F/R: 1073/939mm
  • Boot capacity: 780-litres
  • Weight: 2310kg
  • Approach / departure / break-over angles: 33.3° / 31° /27.2°
  • Ground clearance: 278mm
  • Wading depth: 850mm
  • Towing, braked / unbraked: 3000/750kg
  • Suspension, F/R: Double wishbones / integral link, adaptive air suspension, active anti-roll bars
  • Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion
  • Turning circle: 12.39-meters
  • Lock-to-lock: 2.7-turns
  • Brakes, F/R: 380/365mm ventilated discs
  • Tyres: 295/40R22

*Driven in RHD format in the UK, as photographed. Otherwise identical to LHD versions for the Middle East.

 

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